She moved ahead slowly, taking a step or two carefully, lest she would frighten the squirrels and they will run away. Only if she could get a little closer, but the path was covered with dry leaves. She liked it not to crush them under her feet. That voice! How can she inflict such pain on the little leaves. Dry leaves, they always attract her. While strolling here and there, in the morning, noon and evenings or even while going to or returning from somewhere, she has this habit of picking up fallen dry leaves. She would pick them up, move her fingers slowly over the patterns on the lamina, feeling it, absorbing it and then put it down carefully at the foot of some big tree. Dry leaves. Fallen dry leaves. How beautiful they are. Once lush green, they danced with the winds, rustling, swaying. Sequined with pearls, adorned with flowers, they floated high, like a queen, in the air. Now, on the ground, slimed with mud, dried and withered, they are crushed, while someone negligently steps on them to praise some newly formed bud. She hunched down, sat in the little clearing and picked up a red leaf. Her fingers were tossing it over, making random lines and circles on it, while she herself was drowning in the deep circles of memories, dark impressions which had wilted her, withered her.
She hunched down, sat in the little clearing and picked up a red leaf. She could hear them, calling her, searching her. And here she was hiding in this little clearing in the mid of these thorny bushes. She sat quietly trying to suppress her giggles, when anyone of them passed from there. There were many leaves and little wild flowers. She started playing with them, forgetting entirely that she was playing something else, while the rest of the children too forgot her, young as they were, as soon as some movie began. Her little fingers carefully picked up the yellow and red flowers from the ground and tried to fix them in the braid. She would adorn herself and would surprise everyone. With the red and yellow flowers against her swarthy skin and olive green frock she looked heavenly. Carefully she emerged out from the hiding, running zealously towards the home, excited as she was, to surprise them all. The afternoon road was quiet and sun had enveloped everything in a lazy heat. As a ripple breaks out in silent waters, she ran with little steps. Redness sprouted its branches on her angelic visage. She was a bud, half opened, about to bloom into a full flower. But suddenly the sun drowned in the darkest of waters, the yellow and red flowers fumed into black ashes, the gleam of her eyes got lost in some ghoulish hollow. The petals shattered, the bud would never bloom. Covered in olive green tatters, she crawled to reach her home, blood dripping down from between her thighs, leaving behind traces, traces of …
A tear drop fell on the little red leaf, and settled on the dry surface like a glistening pearl. A squirrel which had came very slowly near her, finding her perfectly still and lost, and was about to snatch the leaf from her hands, at the fall of the tear, got really frightened and in no time ran away from there. The hasty movements of the squirrel forced her to laugh, but the laughter only deepened her pain. The fear of the squirrel reminded her more intensely of the black day and a sudden outburst of tears wrapped her. She sobbed and cried, tears flowed freely, endlessly, but at the same time she felt a strange lightness. Something which she had not felt since. The tears had washed the little red leaf, it was dry still, but was dazzling brightly under the sun.